Love and Theft
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Bob Dylan Love and Theft

Love and Theft

  Bob Dylan - London 1965
Bob Dylan - London 1965  


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Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - Review

Love and Theft review

Perhaps no other musical artist has reinvented himself more often, and with such wild oscillations, than Bob Dylan. From his shocking the staid folkie world at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with an electric set to his evangelical rock of the 80s, no one could accuse Dylan of being stale…or predictable. So, it should have surprised no one that Dylan, some sixty-odd years old, should release some of his most vital and interesting music to date; first with 1997’s Grammy-winning Time Out of Mind and then 2001’s superior follow-up Love and Theft.

With Love and Theft, Dylan harkens back to tried and true forms of music to serve as vehicles for his strongest lyrics since his 60s and early 70s heyday. These are words with bite and swagger, candid tenderness, playful humor, clear description, and direct insight into the human condition. Of course, what would a Dylan album be without colorful characters steeped in American folklore? There is plenty on this record, much to the delight of the listener. “Floater (Too Much to Ask)” sees Romeo and Juliet shuffling through the American South and a narrator who “left all his dreams and hopes buried underneath tobacco leaves,” and album-opener “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum” finds these two shady characters in and out of all sorts of mischief and bizarre happenings. Autobiographical references are peppered throughout the record, but nowhere more effectively than in the wonderful “Mississippi,” where Dylan is reflecting on past relationships, accomplishments, and failures.

Musically, Love and Theft is astounding, largely due to Dylan’s best-ever backing band, but also to Dylan himself, who produced the record under the pseudonym Jack Frost. This is music with a lively pulse rooted in America’s past; blues, shuffles, swing, folk-rock, rock-a-billy, and even touches of 20s and 30s tin-pan alley. Dylan managed to capture a sparkling and wonderful live feel on every track, thereby avoiding the often heavy-handed production of Daniel Lanois in Time Out of Mind. On “High Water (for Charley Patton),” Dylan and the band sound like a nomadic acoustic jug band observing the end of the world, while on “Summer Days” they challenge even the most stubborn wallflower not to dance with glee. Even Dylan’s vocals, which traditionally have proven to be an obstacle for the listener, cackle with a raspy and wise intensity. His phrasing and dynamics are truly inspired and seem to pay homage to the late-great Louis Armstrong.

Like all great music, the listener can find something new upon every listen to Love and Theft. Certainly, this record can be placed confidently alongside Dylan’s other great works: Blonde On Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and Bringin’ It All Back Home. Whereas most artists from his generation have fizzled out into irrelevant dinosaur-rock acts, Dylan has successfully reinvented himself for a new century while keeping the past close at hand; and as he sings in “Summer Days,” he “knows a place where there’s still something going on.” We can all count ourselves lucky to sit back and patiently see what he will do next. 
Grade    By Kevin Hartman

There is a limited edition version of Love and Theft with a second disc that includes:
1. The Times They Are A - Changin' (Alternate version from 1963)
2. I Was Young When I Left Home (Previously unreleased from 1961)
Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - Musicians


Track List

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1. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Dylan) - 4:46
2. Mississippi (Dylan) - 5:21
3. Summer Days (Dylan) - 4:52
4. Bye and Bye (Dylan) - 3:16
5. Lonesome Day Blues (Dylan) - 6:05
6. Floater (Too Much to Ask) (Dylan) - 4:59
7. High Water (for Charley Patton) (Dylan) - 4:04
8. Moonlight (Dylan) - 3:23
9. Honest With Me (Dylan) - 5:49
10. Po' Boy (Dylan) - 3:05
11. Cry Awhile (Dylan) - 5:05
12. Sugar Baby (Dylan) - 6:40

Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - Musicians
Cast of Characters

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Bob Dylan- Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Larry Campbell- Guitar, Violin, Banjo, Mandolin
Charlie Sexton- Guitar
Tony Garnier- Bass
David Kemper- Drums
Augie Meyers- Vox Organ, B3, Accordion 

Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - Notes

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Produced by Jack Frost
Released 2001
There is a llimited edition version of Love and Theft with a second disc that includes:
1. The Times They Are A - Changin' (Alternate version from 1963)
2. I Was Young When I Left Home (Previously unreleased from 1961)

Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - Order

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